Software Information

Troubleshoot Windows with Task Manager

Task Manager is a Windows system utility that displays thetasks or processes currently running on your computer. Toopen Task Manager, press Ctrl+Alt+Del. The Applcations tablists the applications currently running on your computer.A single application may actually consist of several runningprocesses, and many programs that run in the background arenot listed (you can see icons for some of these programs inthe System Tray).

Microsoft Great Plains Upgrade ? Version 8.0 Overview for IT Director/Controller

If you have Microsoft Great Plains as main accounting and ERP system you need to know some technical details on Great Plains version upgrade and what is going on behind the scenes, which options do you have in case of Dexterity, VBA, SQL customizations, ctree/Pervasive migration to MS SQL/MSDE.  As of right now it is reasonable to upgrade to Microsoft Great Plains 8.0 Is upgrade required?  Not actually, but you have to consider these factors  ? Technical Support discontinuation - the old version may not be supported - currently if you are on version 6.0 - support is already discontinued.  You can not have Microsoft Business Solutions help you, but obviously you have MBS partners who can still help you.  If you are on Ctree or Pervasive SQL, then your support expires December, 31 2004.  ? Tax Updates/Magnetic media expiration - if you have US Payroll module and depend on it with W2 and other forms - you must stay with the version, which is supported and has tax updates.  If you are on Ctree or Pervasive SQL - then you will not have tax updates for these platforms at the end of 2004 and your W2s maybe inaccurate.  If you have a lot of employees - you may have issues with government.? Following the Technology and Microsoft rules  - Microsoft wants you to be on the newest platform and provides you the best support when you follow this rule? If you do have heavy customization - we recommend you to skip one version, for example if you are on version 7.5 - do not upgrade to 8.0 and wait for the next version What is upgrade in the language of technology?  Upgrade has server and client sides.  ? Server side - upgrade converts tables from old format to the new one.  In general words - Microsoft Business Solutions developers may change table structure, append additional fields to add new functionality, things like that.  Upgrade copies the table with changes to temporary table, then drops original table, recreates it with new structure and copies all the data from temp table to the newly created one.  ? Workstation side - workstation is written in Great Plains Dexterity and has Dynamics.exe - engine and DYNAMICS.DIC - dictionary.  These two plus all the additional files will be replaced with the new ones.  Other dictionaries, such us REPORTS.DIC and FORMS.DIC should be also upgraded and upgrade will try to deal with them automatically.  In some cases modified reports (in REPORTS.DIC) could not be upgraded and need to be recreated in the new version.  What is customization upgrade?  You should consider different types of customizations: Dexterity,  VBA/Modifier, SQL, ReportWriter, Crystal Reports? Dexterity Customization - being very short - Dexterity may have so called Custom Forms - these do not need upgrade - they should work as is.  Then Dexterity may alter existing Great Plains forms (so-called Alternate Great Plains forms) - in this case Dexterity customization should be redone for these forms/screens.  Plus additional consideration should be given to Dexterity triggers, shadow tables, etc.  ? VBA/Modifier customization - Modifier allows you to modify existing Great Plains windows - it creates so called modified Great Plains windows, stored in FORMS.DIC.  Usually modification is placing new buttons or fields, which in turn will be given VBA scripts (stored in DYNAMICS.VBA).  VBA scripts may call something nice, like Crystal Report, or have some data access logic.  Usually the old version of DYNAMICS.VBA workds with the new version.  You may need to rearrange buttons on the modified form.? SQL - you may have some stored procs for data integration, EDI or the like - if the addressed tables will be changed in the new version then you need to analyze your SQL code.  The good news is - Microsoft Business Solution doesn't make a lot of changes since version 7.0, because Microsoft is now trying to merge the products it owns: Great Plains, Solomon, Navision and Axapta - and so has different priorities? ReportWriter - MBS doesn't change tables, but it keeps changing Dexterity formulas used in ReportWriter original reports - this is the problem in so-called Modified Reports upgrade - usually you have these reports modified: SOP Blank Invoice form, SOP Blank Picking ticket, etc.   If report can not be upgraded - it should be redone in the new version with some exceptions.? Crystal Reports - the nice thing about Crystal Report - id doesn't need to be upgraded (if the fields in the tables exist in the new version - which is usually true statement)What is upgrade for third-party modules?  Your Great Plains may have so-called third party modules: Mekorma, Kampdata, Horyzon, Wennsoft, Avalara, Truepay, Trinity, Intellisol to name a fewThird party modules may have their own utility for upgrade.  You just need to know that your third-party is ready for the new Great Plains version - if not - you just wait and stay on the old version. What is migration from Ctree/Pervasive.SQL 2000 to MS SQL/MSDE?  MBS has migration tool.  You need first to install Great Plains on SQL Server with exactly the same account/segments structure and then install migration tool (it is Dexterity chunk) on your ctree/Pervasive workstation - then, when you integrate the chunk - you will map it to target SQL-based Great Plains Company, select all system and company tables, click the button and it will move all your tables one-by-one.  In the case when your Great Plains ctree/Pervasive has third parties - you need to check if the vendor has migration tool - otherwise you have to do manual move, use SQL Linked server to your legacy data Do I need consultant?  It is probably good idea to have consultant to do the upgrade.  We strongly recommend you to use consultant in the following cases? You have Dexterity customization? You are doing migration from Pervasive/Ctree to Microsoft SQL Server/MSDE, especially when you have third-parties without migration tools? You have a lot or ReportWriter Modified Great Plains Reports? You have old version of Great Plains: Dynamics or eEnterprise 6.0 or prior - in this case you can not appeal to Microsoft Technical Support - it is discontinued ? Your Great Plains has more than 20 users and you have to have upgrade done over the weekend - if it fails - you have business problems? You don't have support - in this case you have to select your Microsoft Business Solutions Partner and pay for the annual support/enhancement plan - you will get new registration key and will be ready for the upgrade  Good luck with upgrade and if you have issues or concerns ? we are here to help!  If you want us to do the job - give us a call 1-866-528-0577!

Instant Messaging is a Sweet Way to Communicate

MSN messenger is a pretty cool invention. I mean I?m not really into serious discussions on the email, answers to questions can often take a few days to arrive because people are so busy these days. I?ve just been ?hooked up? into Messenger and it?s really a different kind of communication, quick, simplistic and even humorous with the capability to express your feelings with ?emotion? cartoons.   With Messenger you can communicate with a group of close friends or business partners instantly whenever they are at their computer. When a message is received you are informed instantly on your desktop, you don?t have to be at an email site. A little box appears flashing the name of the sender, you read the message and send a reply when you?ve got a second free.   There?s a contact list and when you go on-line, it automatically tells you who of your connections are on and off-line at that moment. If someone goes on-line after you?ve already been at your computer, a small box appears on your screen to tell you who are now also instantly message able. It?s like the spontaneity of a telephone call but you don?t even have to dial any numbers! Just log in your password and you?re connected.   The huge array of smiley faces and other ?emotional? icons add another dimension to the conversations. Some of the smiley faces actually move (sticking their tongues out etc.) and there are many other symbols to express the moment. E.g.: Show a little sun when it?s sunny in your neighborhood, flash a wilted rose when your love life isn?t going to well, put up a black sheep when you?re feeling disconnected from society. How about expressing your dream of a holiday by flashing up the tropical island icon when you?re stuck in dreary office working hard on a cloudy day. They say a picture speaks a thousand words?   Well I certainly don?t work for Microsoft but I guess Bill Gates and his buddies have made a few bucks because they?ve had a couple of good ideas. They?re helping the world with their knowledge, and I reckon their MSN Messenger is another step forward in bringing the Earth together into one world. Besides the normal email format you can also have web cam and audio conversations, as well as sending files and photos instantly. It?s as sweet as that first time you kissed your honey bunny, well maybe not that sweet.

Reduce TCO: The Java Database Way

TCO (Total Cost Ownership) is the buzzword in today?s business world. This metric helps enterprise managers assess direct and indirect costs and benefits derived from their investment on IT components and services. A vital component of overall TCO is database management. All information-centric applications need databases for data storage. Also, the storage demands of small and mid-sized companies are growing rapidly, as more emphasis is given on data backup and long-term archival of data disaster recovery. Embedded databases have arrived in this scenario as a major cost-cutting tool. They help organizations in managing the growing storage requirements by providing a cost-effective and reliable solution for data backup, file storage and archiving, thereby assuring a lower cost of ownership for small to medium sized business organizations. The remainder of this article will focus on the database server that I am most familiar with (Daffodil DB) and how it helps in the reduction of TCO. Though the example has some nuances specific to Daffodil DB, I am sure that readers will be able to extrapolate the theme to better understand the role of a database in TCO reduction. Let?s begin with Development and Deployment Costs. Gone are the days when applications had to be tested extensively for all underlying platforms. Now, one can shrink the cost and time required to develop and setup solutions on multiple platforms by using a Java database. A separate deployment for different platform implementations of a large application is a major expense that an enterprise can do without. Administration Costs are a major concern for many-a-company. Logically, database administration costs are a significant component of TCO. When embedded with an application, a compact Java database can be made practically invisible to the user, since it (the database) requires no administration and runs on the same Java virtual machine (JVM) as does the application. Its simple performance tuning process helps in optimizing database performance and vastly reduces database administration costs. Now let?s move on to Compatibility Cost. Java databases, being platform independent, are compatible with all operating systems and application servers. This feature helps developers in choosing their own range of effective and economical solutions. For example, with Daffodil DB the developer can use Open Source tools like JBOSS application server for reducing overall TCO. Last, but certainly not the least, let?s get to Licensing Costs. Pardon me if I seem to evangelize Daffodil DB, but that?s one area where I can ?preach? with confidence. As Daffodil DB can be used / embedded with a wide array of applications, flexible licensing policies have been developed to accommodate the diverse needs of the development community without restricting the same to just one standard license. Each application development organization may pick the right combination of licenses that best meets its needs. The organizations may also acquire additional licenses or upgrade their licenses. Do I hear someone shout ?What about Open Source??

Microsoft Great Plains Implementation ? Overview for IT Director/Controller

What is installation in the language of technology?  Installation has server and client sides.  Server side - Installation creates security environment (logins) on MS SQL Server or MSDE, creates system database - DYNAMICS and then company databases.  All these tasks are performed by Microsoft Great Plains Utilities  Workstation side - workstation installation copies the client side application, installs current version of MDAC (we need SQL ODBC driver - please check documentation on ODBC DSN setup), registers the application.  If you plan to run Great Plains Utilities from the workstation to create server side (see above) - you need to check Install Client and Server Components What is following implementation?  Implementation requires combination of technological and accounting skills System Setup - you should refer to GP documentation.  In general setup consists of Company information, General GL/AR/AP/Payroll setup, User classes, Customer/Vendor/Employee classes to name a few Master Records - you should either use integration tools, such as Integration Manager, SQL queries or have users to type in all your GL Accounts, Customers, Vendors, Employees . Beginning Balances - this is recommended approach - you place aside the old accounting application for querying the historical data and enter beginning balances  in Great Plains GL, AR, AP, SOP, POP, Payroll.  When you have balances in the system you are ready to use it in production Historical Data conversion - this is optional, in order to do historical data conversion you need to know basic Great Plains tables structure (Setup->Tools->Resource Description->Tables Structure).  This is similar to surgery - so you probably need outside consultant to help you.  If the volume of historical data is small - you can deploy Great Plains Integration Manager and then post the records in the modules. User Training - we are just listing this item - it is up to you to decide on the way to train your users Using Two Systems in Parallel - this is recommended.  You should print the reports from both systems during this test period and compare the results Customization - typical areas of customizations: Invoice form, Crystal Reports, pulling info from multiple databases, including Great Plains database, Great Plains forms modification with Modifier/VBA, Great Plains Dexterity forms and logic customization, integration with CRM, RMS and other business systems, web publishing from Great Plains tables, EDI with your suppliers, SQL Data Transformation packages Do I need consultant?  We strongly recommend you to use consultant in the following cases You have identified the need for Great Plains Dexterity customization You are doing migration from Pervasive/Ctree to Microsoft SQL Server/MSDE, especially when you have third-parties without migration tools You are doing migration from Great Plains Accounting to Microsoft Great Plains You have to create a lot or ReportWriter Modified Great Plains Reports You have old version of Great Plains: Dynamics or eEnterprise 6.0 or prior - in this case you can not appeal to Microsoft Technical Support - it is discontinued Your Great Plains has more than 20 users in this case the mistake may lead to serious business problems You don't have support for your old Great Plains - then you have to select your Microsoft Business Solutions Partner and pay for the annual support/enhancement plan - you will get new registration key and will be ready for the upgrade Good luck with installation,  implementation, upgrade and if you have issues or concerns ? we are here to help!  If you want us to do the job - give us a call 1-866-528-0577!

Software Companies: Generate New Revenue Streams and Decrease Costs with Custom e-Learning Content

It?s no secret that software companies operate in a very competitive space where rivalry is increasingly fierce and where profit margins can be razor thin. New, smaller software companies are sprouting up each month and the leading software companies continually make strong advancements forward leveraging massive cash flow reserves. This cycle makes it difficult for the mid-sized software company to compete because (a) they don?t typically have the cash flow necessary to take giant leaps forward in the industry and (b) because they need to continually move forward to stay ahead of the smaller software companies that are vying for their slot in the marketplace. Consequently, making the jump from an unknown to a mainstream brand can prove to be very difficult for the mid-sized software company.

Cisco CCNA Certification: Becoming A Truly Valuable CCNA.

I've been active in the Cisco Certification track for four years, working my way from the CCNA to the coveted Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert title, and during that time I've conducted job interviews and casual conversations with hundreds of CCNAs and CCNA candidates.

Software Piracy

We regularly hear reports about the cost to the software industry of software piracy, but are the claims to be taken at face value? Statistics are notoriously biased towards what the author is trying to say.

Microsoft Great Plains Integration with Microsoft Access ? Overview for Developer

 Microsoft Business Solutions stakes on Microsoft Great Plains as main Accounting/ERP application for US market.  At the same time it seems to be staking on Navision in Europe and has Axapta as high end large corporation market competitor to Oracle, PeopleSoft, SAP, IBM.  This article is brief review of Microsoft Great Plains integration with Microsoft Access.  This is also applicable to Small Business Manager (which is based on the same technology ? Great Plains Dexterity dictionary - DYNAMICS.DIC and runtime DYNAMICS.EXE) and Great Plains Standard on MSDE  or MS SQL Server. If you are developer who is asked: how do we implement  Great Plains integration/interface  with your MS Access-based  system ? read this and you will have the clues on where to look further. Great Plains Integration Manager - this is rather end-user tool - it is very intuitive, it validates 100% of business logic, brings in/updates master records (accounts, employees, customers, vendors. etc.) brings in transactions into work tables.  The limitation of Integration Manager - it does use GP windows behind the scenes without showing them - so it is relatively slow - you can bring 100 records - but when you are talking about thousands - it is not a good option.  By the way you can program Integration Manager with VBA.  Microsoft Access is ODBC compliant and so you can do direct Integration Manager query to MS Access eConnect ? it is type of Software Development Kit with samples in VB.Net.  Obviously the development environment should be Visual Studio.Net.  eConnect will allow you to integrate master records - such as new customers, vendors, employees, etc., plus you can bring transactions into so called Great Plains work tables (eConnect doesn't allow you to bring open or historical records - you need to post work records in Great Plains, the same limitation applies to Integration Manager above)  eConnect is rather for ongoing integration.  It was initially created for eCommerce application integration to Great Plains. SQL Stored Procedures.  Obviously you have unlimited control and possibilities with SQL queries.  You need to know Great Plains tables structure and data flow.  Launch Great Plains and go to Tools->Resource Description->Tables.  Find the table in the proper series.  If you are looking for the customers ? it should be RM00101 ? customer master file.  If you need historical Sales Order Processing documents ? they are in SOP30200 ? Sales History Header file, etc.   Do not change existing tables - do not create new fields, etc.  Also you need to realize that each GP table has DEX_ROW_ID - identity column.  Sometimes it is good idea to use inbound/outbound XML in the parameters - then you can deploy web service as a middle party between two systems. Data Transformation Services (DTS) ? Good tool for importing your third party data into staging tables in GP - then you can pull them in using either stored procs of Integration Manager.  You can also deploy this tool for EDI export/import.  You can have DTS working with Linked Server - SQL Server Construction for linking to Microsoft Access Great Plains Dexterity Custom Screens.  Sometimes users prefer to have seamlessly integrated into GP interface custom screens - for parameters settings and initiating integration.  Dexterity is a good option, however remember - it is always better to create new custom screen versus customizing existing one - due to the future upgrade issues.  Also - Dexterity is in phasing our by Microsoft Business Solutions. Modifier/VBA custom buttons on the existing screens -  alternative to Dexterity is you are comfortable with VBA and ADO. SQL Linked Servers ? you can do direct SQL queries to other ODBC compliant platform via SQL Linked Server (including Microsoft Access) - you may need to familiarize yourself with OPENROWSET command in Transact SQL.  This is also good option if you need cross-platform Crystal Report - pulling data from SQL Server and third party databases on the same report. Warning - do not place existing GP tables into Replication! - you will have upgrade issues. Happy integrating!  if you want us to do the job - give us a call 1-866-528-0577!

Microsoft Great Plains Reporting ? Overview for Developer

Looks like Microsoft Great Plains becomes more and more popular, partly because of Microsoft muscles behind it.  Now it is targeted to the whole spectrum of horizontal and vertical market clientele.  Small companies use Small Business Manager (which is based on the same technology ? Great Plains Dexterity dictionary and runtime), Great Plains Standard on MSDE is for small to midsize clients, and then Great Plains serves the rest of the market up to big corporations.  There are several reporting tools available and you definitely need to know which one to use for different types of reports. If you are developer who is asked: how do we create report for Microsoft Great Plains ? read this and you will have the clues on where to look further. Great Plains Report Writer (ReportWriter) ? this is built-in reporting tool.  All the original report in Great Plains are written in ReportWriter.  ReportWriter itself is Dexterity module.  You should use this tool if you would like to modify existing Great Plains reports, such as Blank Invoice Form - here you can place your company logo, change the positioning, fonts, colors, etc.  ReportWriter will allow you also do new  reports - simple option  if you want to export all the records from one Great Plains table - use it.  New report, however doesn't have interface where you would enter parameters - so it is not useful for real custom reports.  Another limitation of ReportWriter - you can not do cross-modules report - when you need sales and purchasing info on the same report for example. FRx.  This is excellent tool when deal with financial reporting - it works on the General Ledger level (Balance sheet, P&L, Cash Flow Statement, etc.).  It also allows you to do multiple companies consolidation - when you do consolidated Balance Sheet (with inter-companies transactions elimination). Smart List - Export to Excel ? this is nice feature in Great Plains - you could create a list with simple criteria and then export it to Excel. Crystal Reports.  It gives you unlimited functionality.  Obviously flexibility requires you to know Great Plains table structure:  Launch Great Plains and go to Tools->Resource Description->Tables.  Find the table in the proper series.  If you are looking for the customers ? it should be RM00101 ? customer master file.  If you need historical Sales Order Processing documents ? they are in SOP30200 ? Sales History Header file, etc.  Create ODBC connection to GP Company database.  Use the same technique as when you create standard ODBC connection for GP workstation ? but change default database to targeted company database.  Create SQL Query to probe the data ? we always recommend tuning your query and see that you are getting adequate results ? in any case ? Crystal Report is just a nice tool to show the results of your query. Direct Web Publishing off Great Plains databases ? yes - it is easy now with Visual Studio.Net and you can hire good programmers.  This is good - Microsoft Business Solutions products: Great Plains, Solomon, Navision and Axapta will be integrated into so called Microsoft Business Portal - which will have web interface - you can get the idea if you look at Microsoft CRM web client - so direct web publishing is good taste. SQL Queries.  If you have SQL background - this is great field for you.  You know - with properly formatted SQL query you can realize simple EDI export/import for the integration with legacy systems. Happy designing!  if you want us to do the job - give us a call 1-866-528-0577!

Crystal Reports for Microsoft Great Plains ? Overview for Developer

Microsoft Great Plains is main accounting / ERP application from Microsoft Business Solutions, targeted to the US market.  It serves the whole of vertical and horizontal market: most of the industries and company sizes.  Crystal Reports on the other hand is the leader in the reporting software industry and Microsoft is willing to use Crystal as main reporting tool for Great Plains, Solomon, Microsoft CRM, .Net platform, etc. If you are developer who is asked: how do we extend Great Plains ReportWriter with somewhat more sophisticated ? read this and you will have the clues on where to look further. Great Plains Tables Structure ? first of all you need to know the tables to link.  Launch Great Plains and go to Tools->Resource Description->Tables.  Find the table in the proper series.  If you are looking for the customers ? it should be RM00101 ? customer master file.  If you need historical Sales Order Processing documents ? they are in SOP30200 ? Sales History Header file, etc. Create ODBC connection to GP Company database.  Use the same technique as when you create standard ODBC connection for GP workstation ? but change default database to targeted company database. Consider SQL Views ? if you don?t want complex links in Crystal Report itself or if you need unionization from several companies ? SQL view is the answer. Consider SQL Stored Procedures.  Sometimes you can not pull the data in one view ? you need temporary tables to be created and the final query should be based on these temp tables ? this is when you need stored procedure. Call Crystal Report from GP Screens via VBA/Modifier ? if the user wants to call Crystal report for example - printing Invoices in GP and do it from SOP Entry window ? you can use Modifier and VBA to call Crystal Reports engine. Create SQL Query to probe the data ? we always recommend tuning your query and see that you are getting adequate results ? in any case ? Crystal Report is just a nice tool to show the results of your query. Happy customizing, querying and designing! if you want us to do the job - give us a call 1-866-528-0577!

How to Upgrade Dexterity Customization ? Tips for IT Manager

If you have Microsoft Great Plains and support it for your company and have light or heavy Great Plains customization, written in Dexterity ? you need to know your options in upgrading Great Plains or migrating it from ctree/Pervasive to MS SQL/MSDE. Great Plains Dexterity is proprietary programming language/environment, which was created in early 1990-th to provide platform / database / graphical interface independence for Mac and Windows based Great Plains Dynamics.  Today it is legacy and Microsoft Business Solutions is phasing Dexterity out. However Great Plains 7.5 and even 8.0 is Dexterity based application, so you have to deal with it and it?s customization.   Good news.  Prior to version 7.0 Great Plains had plans on expanding GP functionality and so was changing tables structure ? forcing Dexterity customization to be analyzed and partially rewritten with each upgrade.  Not any more ? GP structure stays the same ? Microsoft is doing new modules acquisition and unifying it?s graphical interface to move all it?s ERP packages: Great Plains, Solomon, Navision and Axapta to web-based Microsoft Business Portal.   Still pain.  Dexterity has possibility to customize existing Great Plains screens, so called Alternative Great Plains forms.  This was upgrade problem in the past and it stays now ? there is no way to do it in house (until you are willing to pay for full-time internal developer ? who is usually in the learning curve).  You got to bring in consultant. Recommended approach.  You should have the strategy to migrate Dexterity customization to SQL, Crystal Reports, custom web publishing ? Visual and slowly abandon Dexterity customization SQL Stored procedures - performance improvement.  Consider replacing dexterity data manipulation with SQL stored procedures.  Dexterity is cursor-driven language and it is not efficient when processing huge datasets. Crystal Reports.  Take advantage of open and leading technology.  Crystal Reports will eliminate the need in the future for painstaking Dexterity reports upgrade.  Base you Crystal report on the SQL view or stored proc Do direct web publishing off your GP database.  Use Visual Studio ? it is easy to find specialists and have them in staff.  We are in the World when web publishing is very easy. Good luck and if you have issues or concerns ? we are here to help! if you want us to do the job - give us a call 1-866-528-0577!

IT Department Skills to Support Microsoft Great Plains and Microsoft CRM

Microsoft Great Plains as ERP and Microsoft CRM as Client Relation Management system is very robust combination and could serve midsize to large corporation as Business System.  Being VP IT or IT Director you need to foresee the positions to have in your IT department to do internal MS Great Plains and MS CRM support. Let us give you the directions, based on our research and consulting practice. Microsoft SQL Server Specialist ? we specially do not name this position as MS SQL DBA, because both Great Plains and MS CRM are not very complex from the database administration side, they do not use indexes optimization, referential integrity, probably do not require complex transaction log backup/recovery scenarios.  On the other hand this position requires Great Plains and Microsoft CRM tables structure analysis and some primary Great Plains data fixing skills via SQL queries, described in MBS Customer source techknowledge database.  The best candidate should have some accounting background - to be able to address ongoing issues to MBS technical support. Network Administrator with good Microsoft Exchange and Active Directory skills.  Microsoft CRM uses all the newest Microsoft technologies, and Exchange is a workhorse here.  In order to install and upgrade MS CRM this guy needs to understand the under-laying Microsoft technology.  In the best case - she/he should know Exchange security structure and probably program Exchange handlers, due to the fact that CRM/Exchange connector is not a perfect tool yet. C# or VB.Net programmer with excellent SQL Skills? if you are midsize or large company - you should have this position - you will need web publishing and MS CRM customization and its support.  Currently Microsoft CRM SDK has C# examples - so C# programmer would be the best fit, it may have more VB code in the future, so the C# - VB balance maybe restored. Crystal Reports Designer/Programmer - Crystal Reports is the best tool available on the market to address both Great Plains and MS CRM reporting needs.  This position maybe merged with one of the above. These people should be probably cross-trained in both Great Plains, Microsoft CRM, Crystal Reports, SQL and C# programming, so you do not depend on the unique skills of one person.  In our opinion, which is based on our long term consulting practice - these skills will allow you to keep the cost of IT support reasonably low and avoid paying high consulting price to your Microsoft Business Solutions Partner. Happy hiring and training! But in any case you need to select Microsoft Business Solutions Partner/Var/Reseller to be your official representative.  This is how MBS has its channel working - it assures that Microsoft Business Solutions products are properly implemented.  If you want us to be your Microsoft Business Solutions Partner - give us a call 1-866-528-0577!

SQL: Querying Microsoft Great Plains ? Overview for Database Administrator/Developer

Microsoft CRM Custom Design & Development: SDK, C#, SQL, Exchange, Integration, Crystal Reports

Microsoft CRM is new player on the CRM software market.  The whole conception behind CRM seems to be different.  In case of traditional CRM software (Siebel, Oracle) - the application was designed with platform independence in mind.  Microsoft CRM is dedicated to Microsoft technology and so deploys all the Microsoft tools: Windows Active Directory, Microsoft Exchange 2003/2000, SQL Server, Crystal Reports Enterprise, Biztalk server, Microsoft Outlook, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Great Plains as backend, etc. If you are software developer, database administrator or web designer who is asked: how do we customize Microsoft CRM ? we are giving you directions in this article. Microsoft CRM SDK ? this is software development kit with C# and partly code samples ? it is supported by Microsoft Business Solutions technical support.  It is based on web service calls, if you are C# .NET developer ? you are excellently positioned to do this type of customizations.  This is the preferred modification scenario and this should be easily upgradeable customization.  VB.Net examples will be available soon. Legacy SQL Data integration.  This is also easy and safe.  If you have SQL database, sitting on the same or linked SQL Server ? you can create ASPX .Net application and simply integrate it into CRM.  You can place it on the navigation bar or menu in isv.config ? please refer to MS CRM SDK Legacy ASP integration ? this is somewhat more sophisticated.  You have to deploy HTTP handler to be a middle party between CRM which is .Net based and ASP which is legacy IIS.  The trick is ? you have to have INI file with security settings to penetrate into MS CRM with proper credentials, calling web service. Microsoft Exchange Programming.  Microsoft CRM has Exchange connector ? which moves CRM incoming email to MS if it has GUID in its subject.  You can alter this logic (for instance - move email to CRM if it doesn?t have GUID but it is from the sender who is contact or account in MS CRM).  Refer to MS Exchange SDK onsyncsave event handling.  Then simply apply some MS CRM SDK programming - you need some COM+ objects creation and VB programming experience. Direct SQL touch ? in #4 above I described you the scenario with MS Exchange handlers ? this would be ideal world if MS CRM SDK does the job.  But ? in real world this is not always true ? you have to do direct flags correction in CRM database (like making Activity closed, moving email attachments/octet streams, etc).  This is not supported by MBS technical support ? but you can rescue to this technique if you have to get job done. MS CRM Customization tool ?  this is rather end-user tool and we don?t describe it here ? read the manual.  We?ve described above the options to use when this tool doesn?t do the job Crystal Reports - feel free to create Crystal report - tables and views structure is self explanatory.  Try to avoid the temptation to create your own SQL view or stored procedure in MS CRM database, instead - create custom database and place your view and stored proc in it.  Happy modifying! If you want us to do the job - give us a call 1-866-528-0577!

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Google Invests in Insurance Agency Software Firm Applied Systems
Insurance Journal
Giant Google's investment arm has purchased a minority stake in Applied Systems, a provider of insurance technology and cloud-based software for independent agencies. The investment in Applied Systems is being made through CapitalG, the growth equity ...

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BitMEX Takes Aim at Bitcoin Core, Will Launch Competing Software Client
The research arm of cryptocurrency trading platform BitMEX has announced that it will launch its own Bitcoin software client to compete with reference implementation and industry standard Bitcoin Core. Unveiled this week in a lengthy post discussing ...

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Lucid Software raises $72 million to grow its web-based design and diagramming software
Founded in 2010, Lucid Software is best known for its flagship Lucidchart product, which is kind of like a Microsoft Visio-style collaborative diagramming app that's used for wireframing, UI prototyping, and similar use cases. Companies can use it to ...

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Milwaukee Business Journal

Wisconsin Insurance Software Firm Dynamis Sold to Applied Systems
Applied Systems, a Chicago-area company that sells its cloud-based software to groups in the insurance industry, announced Wednesday that it has acquired Dynamis Software. West Allis, WI-based Dynamis develops software that insurance brokers and ...
Andy Nunemaker's Dynamis Software sold to Illinois companyMilwaukee Business Journal

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Yahoo Finance

IBM revenue misses as server, software sales slow
Yahoo Finance
By Pushkala Aripaka. (Reuters) - IBM Corp reported a bigger-than-expected drop in revenue on Tuesday, hit by slowing software sales and wavering demand for mainframe servers, pointing to a bumpy recovery for the technology services giant that is in the ...
More revenue blues for IBM down to mainframe and software 'headwinds'

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We Need To Work Harder To Make Software Engineering More Ethical
Software developers are an integral part of protecting our critical infrastructure. They write the algorithms that make increasingly important decisions about people's lives. They help safeguard our information from hackers. These are the people who ...

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